Hot summer days are just around the corner in North Dakota. June is a good time to raise awareness about what it takes to keep each other safe. Staying hydrated on hot days is very important. It is critical to heart health and helps muscles work efficiently. Your body depends on water to survive and it is good for overall health.
Your body loses water faster when the weather is really hot. Dehydration is a serious condition that can lead to a heat stroke, which happens when a body can no longer regulate its temperature and it keeps rising. This is very serious and requires medical attention immediately.
Exercising, working in the yard or even sitting in the hot sun can cause you to perspire, resulting in a loss of fluid. It is especially important to drink more water in these situations. Even if you don’t sweat a lot, still drink plenty of water.
To help avoid heat exhaustion, stay hydrated. Drink water before, during and after any physical activity. Thirst isn’t necessarily the best indicator that you need a drink. According to the American Heart Association, the easiest thing to do is pay attention to the color of your urine. Pale and clear means you are well hydrated, but if it’s dark, you need to drink more fluids.
Water is the best drink to stay hydrated for most people. Fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, lettuce and tomatoes, contain a high percentage of water, so it is good to eat more of them on hot days. It is best to avoid fruit juices and sugary drinks, such as soda, as they can be hard on your stomach. It is important to avoid excessive caffeine intake as well, as this can worsen dehydration.
Tips for staying hydrated
♦ Carry a bottle of water.
♦ Try a slice of lemon, lime or orange in your water.
♦ When you’re feeling hungry, drink water.
♦ If you can’t remember to drink water throughout the day, create a schedule. Drink a glass when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch and dinner and before you go to bed.
Remember, the body depends on water to survive. So stay hydrated. If you have a heart condition, make sure to talk to your doctor about adequate hydration, as too much water may worsen certain heart conditions.
Scot Mickelson is a board-certified family medicine provider at CHI St. Alexius Health Mandan Medical Plaza.